Never Meant to Survive: Genocide and Utopias in Black Diaspora Communities by João H. Costa Vargas

Never Meant to Survive presents a historical, political, and social assessment of anti-black genocide and liberatory struggles that arose to resist it. Based on fine-grained accounts of community life at the street level, Costa Vargas’s work presents crucial examples of political resistance and community activism. By examining two cities linked by common experiences of Blackness, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro, this book identifies a prevailing genocidal force that organizes individuals and groups across society. The 1965 and 1992 riots in Los Angeles, the work of the Black Panther Party and favela activists in Brazil, and police brutality in struggles between Black communities and the state in both L.A. and Rio de Janeiro all figure importantly in Costa Vargas’s compelling account. What emerges from this analysis is a call for the destruction of the conditions that foster the marginalization of Black communities and a halt to the internal conflicts between Black social groups themselves.

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